Getting orientated in Yerevan

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October 5th 2012
Published: October 2nd 2012
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Saturday 29 September 2012

Our first day in Yerevan. We started with a bit of housekeeping, washing clothes etc before heading to the shops to get some breakfast stuff, bread, butter and honey. Our plan was a visit to Vernissage the outdoor market that sells a variety of stuff- jewellery, second hand goods, paintings, clothes etc. On our way we went to the tourist information office but it wasn't there anymore. We have no idea where it's gone.

Some of the people selling at Vernissage are artists with their own handmade wares. We saw a lovely stall with handmade jewellery made from leather. We return there tomorrow. Our aim was to scope the market out and return to buy what we want. Vernissage is only open on Saturday and Sundays so this was our only chance.

It's very hot here in Yerevan compared to when we were up in the mountains so we tried to stick to the shade as much as possible. After Vernissage we walked back up Abovyan Street where our flat is, and stopped for lunch at the Artbridge cafe and bookshop. We had non traditional fare, I had angel hair pasta with tomato sauce and Rod had tortilla filled with roasted veg and cheese. The cafe had wifi so I think we will be hanging out there quite a lot.

We spent the rest of the day, walking around a little bit to get our bearings. Yerevan centre is quite compact and easy to walk around apart from when you want to cross a road. Although there are pedestrian crossings in most places, there are a few roads where you either dice with death or use the underpass with crumbling steps and uneven surfaces.

Rod has been fascinated by the amount of people who have dogs on leads. In the provinces there are dogs everywhere and a lot of them are strays but here in the city a lot are pets, including those horrible little dogs that can be carried around a la Paris Hilton style.

The other thing we started to notice was the amount of people who carry their babies around rather than in a pushchair or sling. I wouldn't be keen on crossing the roads, babe in arms.

Compared to the provinces and in particular, the rural parts of Armenia, Yerevan feels quite affluent. Its a real mix though, there are people driving around in very expensive cars while others struggle to make ends meet. We suspect that a lot of the wealthy are Russian oligarchs.

In the evening we cooked - the first time in two weeks. Pilaf and salad with sour cream, vodka and red wine. We were feeling too tired to go for another stroll so sat and people watched before retiring. We have a popular juice bar on the street next to our flat - I'm only just getting used to the sound of the blender which seems to be in constant use day and night.


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